Submissions from a B-double truck driver and his wife to the Parliamentary Inquiry into Victoria’s increasing road toll have raised a number of interesting questions about existing requirements for truck drivers.
Submission 75 – from Tim and Mandy Leary, former owners of a border Pit Stop and a B-double truck driver, raises a stark reminder of the dangers of driving any form of truck.
A B-double truck can weigh up to 55.5 tonnes (the equivalent of ten elephants). As road users, we trust that the men and women who drive them drive safely. Yet the Leary’s submission reveals that in a twenty-four period our regulations allow truck drivers to work up to fourteen hours and then take a minimum of seven hours of continuous ‘stationary rest time’. To put this in perspective most nurses only work a maximum shift length of ten hours. The key difference is that a fatigued driver behind the wheel of a 55.5 tonne truck can do a lot of damage!
The submission also highlighted that the average truck or bus driver is only required to undertake five-hours of training after holding their car driver license for a minimum of 12 months. This allows a p-plater to obtain a licence to drive an 8-tonne truck by themselves after five hours of training.
The Leary’s submission raises concerns about the way we train other drivers to behave when driving with trucks on the road.
The learner handbook advises all drivers to stay 60 metres away from trucks – about 2/3 of a basketball court. The Leary’s say that many people don’t know what 60 metres really looks like and this distance guide never happens in reality. The saying ‘if you can’t see their mirrors, the driver can’t see you’ seems the better lesson, yet drivers continue to tailgate trucks.
Read the Leary’s submission to the inquiry here
If you have any thoughts on Victoria’s road toll or how to improve road safety in Victoria, click here to to make a submission to the economy and infrastructure committee.
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